Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen, by Lisa Wedeen. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, xv + pages. Notes to p. Lisa Wedeen’s ambitious and illuminating Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen provides a wealth of expert observations and analysis. Peripheral Visions has 46 ratings and 3 reviews. Hamza said: I honestly Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen Lisa Wedeen.

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Seeing like a citizen acting like a state. About Contact News Giving to the Press.

Having posed these questions, Wedeen goes on to explain in the introduction why Yemen is a good case study for a discussion of the making of national attachments and their wsdeen to political order: Publics, Power and Performance in Yemen.

Her work on the Middle Weceen includes Ambiguities of Domination, an ethnographic study of the culture of the spectacle in Syria under Hafez al-Assad. She discusses the way in which a range of discourses — including those circulated through poetry, radio broadcasts and newspapers — set a backdrop against which a united Yemen became a feasible outcome, despite its never having existed in the past.

I found this book very generative and have been using it in structuring my own thinking about the institutional ewdeen historical sources of democratic practices in the United States I am spending the summer and fall writing a book on the sociology of democracy, focusing mostly on the US.

Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen, Wedeen

The Middle East Journal. How does nationalism operate, and how do claims of national belonging articulate with other experiences of solidarity? Nov 16, Hamza rated it liked it Shelves: In turn, deliberation is the particular practice that constitutes these publics. Daniel Mahoney rated it it was amazing Oct 31, There are no discussion topics on this book yet.

Yemen, she suggests, is a case of the latter. You may purchase this title at these fine bookstores. Revealing what holds Yemen together in such tenuous circumstances, Peripheral Visions shows how citizens form national attachments even in the absence of strong state institutions.


The book embraces the theory of performativity—that by stating or measuring a phenomenon that phenomenon is also evoked. If you’re like me and only fit into the latter category, you may want to look for something that focuses more on the actual history.

Cultural and Social Anthropology. Ultimately, her skillful evocations of such practices shift attention away from a narrow focus on government institutions and electoral competition and toward the substantive experience of participatory politics.

It is one of a new breed of books about Middle East politics that upend our understanding of political concepts, introduce texture and depth into theories of politics, and show the way forward. Essentially, Wedeen says, Przeworski holds the definition of democracy to be the presence of contested elections. You are commenting using your Facebook account.

wedeen, peripheral visions

I use the scare quotes because, as the book notes, they had never before been united. She also explains how symptoms of state failure, as identified by outside observers, can be alternatively interpreted as a successful adaptation perkpheral circumstances by the regime. The role of the qat chew as a public sphere is examined in Chapter Three.

The government of Yemen, unified sinceremains largely incapable of controlling violence or providing goods and services to its population, but the regime continues to endure despite its liza and peripheral location in the global political and economic order. Her focus is on the chew as performative practice p. Wedeen follows an interpretivist approach and uses a mixture of methods, enabling an expansive discussion that is not confined by artificial conceptual boundaries.

She conducted 18 months of fieldwork in Yemen between andduring which she undertook ethnographic work, conducted extensive interviews with a range of local actors and took part in qat chews qat is a mildly intoxicating drug, said to increase alertness and lucidity.

Peripheral Visions: Publics, Power, and Performance in Yemen by Lisa Wedeen

She then disputes assertions that the social services provided by Islamist groups in response to hardships inflicted by economic reforms act to delegitimize states, pointing out that many groups involved in such activities operate within a national framework that they do not contest or seek to undermine.


Irsyad Rafsadie rated it really liked it Oct 22, The introduction goes on to set out the theoretical framework for the chapters that follow, first by revisiting literature on nationalism, and second by examining debates around performative politics: Lisa Wedeen, who spent a year and a half in Yemen observing and interviewing its residents, argues that national solidarity in such weak states tends to arise not from attachments to institutions but through both extraordinary events and the ordinary activities of everyday life.

Kyle Anderson rated it really liked it Jan 25, Without cookies your experience may not be seamless. Wedeen argues that focusing on the performative aspects of politics allows for an appreciation of the contingency of solidarities and the fluid nature of identities.

She asks whether the weakness of some authoritarian states could in fact enhance the potential for political activism and critical debate, using the format of the Yemeni qat chew as a case study. Shaza rated it really liked it Jan 30, The widespread currency of minimalist definitions in policymaking circles means that such debates are not merely theoretical, but rather have significant practical implications.

Carly Gimenez rated it it was ok Sep 09, My reading is that qat chews tend to be more agonistic than the public spheres Habermas and his followers imagine: Creating Political Presence Dario Castiglione.

Her text engages with a wide range of scholars who have theorized on nationalism and political change, including Benedict Anderson, Hannah Arendt, Joseph Schumpeter, Gilles Kepel, Judith Butler, Talal Asad, and others.

Mar 27, Rinke rated it really liked it. Joshua rated it really liked it Jul 23, Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account.